The Minnesota Timberwolves have confirmed that Jimmy Butler has suffered a torn meniscus and is ruled out for an indefinite period, which comes as a major blow.
The shooting guard has transformed the team’s hopes this season and has helped to put them in a position to return to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
At this stage, the T-Wolves have not put a timeline on his return but according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, it will be a minimum of 4-6 weeks after he undergoes surgery.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has remained coy about Butler’s recovery period and the team has also refused to give specifics on his injury beyond the diagnosis.
But the player himself has reportedly been speaking about when he expects to return to the floor.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the 28-year-old has been telling people that he plans to be back for the playoffs.
A 4-6 week recovery period would give the All-NBA guard a chance to be back in time for the first round of the postseason in mid-April.
This could just be Butler’s optimism speaking as it’s still early to determine a full timetable.
As one of the league’s toughest competitors, it’s not a huge surprise that the former Chicago Bulls star believes he’ll be back for Minnesota’s first game back in the playoffs for over a decade.
The Timberwolves would certainly love to have their star man back then as he’s had a major impact this year and will be crucial to their chances of making a deep run.
The Marquette product is averaging 22.2 points, 5.0 assists, and 5.4 rebounds this campaign and deserved to be in the MVP conversation for how he’s turned the franchise around.
In his absence, more responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Andrew Wiggins who has struggled to find any level of consistency this year.
After putting up a career-high 23.6 points last season, that number has dropped to 17.7 in the 63 games he’s played in this campaign.
The Canadian signed a huge five-year, $148 million contract extension in the summer and has been failing to live up to that lucrative deal so far.
He must go some way to justifying the front office’s decision by stepping up to fill Butler’s shoes to help the Timberwolves close out the season well and claim one of the top four spots in the west.